The Khorana Prize is awarded for outstanding contributions through work at the chemistry and life science interface.
- Run annually
- The winner receives £3000, a medal and a certificate
- The winner will complete a UK lecture tour
- Prize winners are chosen by the Chemistry Biology Interface Prize Committee
2022 Chemistry Biology Interface Division open award: Khorana Prize Winner
Professor Ronald Raines, Massachussetts Institute of Technology
For translating fundamental chemical understanding of collagen into the life sciences and towards the clinic.
Guidelines for nominators
- Nominations open 18 October.
- Nominations close 18 January, 17:00 GMT.
- Only RSC members can nominate for this prize.
- Nominees may NOT nominate themselves.
- We will not consider nominations of deceased individuals.
- Nominees can only be considered for one of our Research & Innovation Prizes in any given year. In a case where a nominee is nominated for more than one prize independently, RSC staff will ask the nominee which prize they would like to be considered for.
- Individuals named in any of the following roles during the nomination and judging period are not eligible to nominate or be nominated:
- Chemistry Biology Interface Prize Committee members
- RSC Subject Community Presidents
- RSC Prize Committee members
- Trustees of the Royal Society of Chemistry
- Royal Society of Chemistry staff
- The prize is open to RSC members only. This will be checked by RSC staff and the nominee’s RSC membership must be confirmed at the point of nomination – it is not sufficient to have a membership application in process.
- There are no career stage restrictions associated with this prize.
- When nominating previous RSC prize winners, please remember that a person cannot be awarded twice for substantially the same body of work.
- Nominees should only be nominated once for this prize in any given prize cycle. In cases where we receive more than one nomination for the same nominee, only one nomination will go forward to judging.
- Starting from the 2023 cycle, unsuccessful nominations for this prize will automatically rollover to the next prize cycle, unless the nominee’s circumstances have changed so as to make them ineligible, in relation to the eligibility criteria for the prize as outlined above. We encourage nominators to update their nomination between cycles when the nomination window is open. Nominations will be considered for two consecutive prize cycles.
To make a nomination, please use our online nominations system to submit the following information:
- Your name, contact details, and membership number (please contact the RSC Membership team if you do not know your membership details). Your RSC membership must be confirmed at the point of nomination – it is not sufficient to have a membership application in process. The identity of nominators is not made known to our judging panels. The RSC reserves the right to amend nominations if necessary to ensure the anonymity of the nominator.
- Your nominee's name and contact details.
- An up to date CV for the nominee (no longer than one A4 side, 11pt text) which should include a summary of their education and career, and a maximum of 5 relevant publications or patents.
- A short citation describing what the nominee should be awarded for. This must be no longer than 250 characters (including spaces) and no longer than one sentence.
- A supporting statement (up to 750 words) addressing the selection criteria. Our guidance for nominators page has more information on writing this supporting statement.
- A statement (up to 100 words) describing how your nominee has contributed more broadly to the scientific community. A list of possible examples is outlined in the ‘selection criteria’ tab.
- References are not required for this prize and will not be accepted.
The RSC reserves the right to rescind any prize if there are reasonable grounds to do so. All nominators will be asked to confirm that to the best of their knowledge there is no impediment, relating to professional conduct, to their nominee receiving this prize. All prize winners will be asked to sign the RSC’s Code of Conduct Declaration for Recognition.Make a nomination
Selection Criteria and Judging Panel
Our selection committees base their evaluations on the overall quality of relevant contributions and achievements by nominees, in relation to the selection criteria listed below.
The scientific content of any supporting publications, as described in the supporting statement, is much more important than publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which it is published.
The selection committee will consider the following aspects of nominations for this prize:
- Originality of research
- Impact of research
- Quality of publications and/or patents and/or software
- Professional standing
- Collaborations and teamwork
- Other indicators of esteem indicated by the nominator
In an instance where multiple nominees are judged equally meritorious in relation to the above criteria, judging panels have the flexibility to use information provided by the nominator on the nominee’s broader contribution to the chemistry community as an additional criterion.
Examples of relevant contributions could include, but are not limited to:
- Involvement with Royal Society of Chemistry member groups/networks
- Effective mentorship
- Service on boards, committees or panels
- Leadership in the scientific community
- Promotion of diversity and inclusion
- Advocacy for chemistry
- Public engagement and outreach
Chemistry Biology Interface Prize Committee
- Mark Bradley, University of Edinburgh (Chair)
- David Andrews, Astra Zeneca
- Claire Eyers, University of Liverpool
- Carmen Galan, University of Bristol
- Manuel Müller, King’s College London
- Fay Probert, University of Oxford
History of the prize
Established in 2008, the Khorana Prize is named after Nobel Laureate Har Gobind Khorana.
Born in 1922, in Punjab, Khorana's father was keen to educate his family, making Khorana and his siblings the only literate children in the village. Khorana attended high school in Multan where one of his teachers had a key influence on him. After obtaining his MSc in 1945 from Punjab University, in Lahore, Khorana moved to Liverpool on a Government of India Fellowship to complete a PhD under the supervision of Roger Beer. Following a postdoctoral year in Zurich, under the supervision of Vladimir Prelog, he continued his studies at Cambridge University where his interest in nucleic acids and proteins developed. Khorana moved to Canada in 1952 to work on the synthesis of ribotrinucleotides for protein synthesis at Vancouver University.
In 1960, Khorana became a citizen of the United States, where he spent the rest of his research years until retirement. At the Institute for Enzyme Research at the University of Wisconsin he worked on nucleotide synthesis and cracking the genetic code. During this time he proved the existence of codons and confirmed that nucleotide arrangement determines a cell's chemical composition and function. From 1970 Khorana held the post of Alfred P Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry at MIT. His research included synthesis of the first artificial copy of the yeast gene and exploration of molecular mechanisms associated with cell signalling pathways in vertebrate vision.
In 1968 Khorana received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Robert Holley and Marshall Nirenberg for "their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis". In 2007, in Khorana's honour, the Government of India, the University of Wisconsin, and the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum founded the Khorana programme to develop an international community of industrialist, scientists, and social entrepreneurs.
The prize was established through a bequest from Adrien Albert. In 2021, the purposes of this Trust were amended, and remaining monies were combined with other generous bequests and donations to become part of the RSC Recognition Fund.
Re-thinking recognition: Science prizes for the modern world
This report is the result of an independent review of our recognition programmes. Our aim in commissioning this review was to ensure that our recognition portfolio continues to deliver the maximum impact for chemical scientists, chemistry and society.
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